Speaking to the media at his ministry today (02), he said that without resorting to blaming anyone, everyone should learn many lessons from the recent disaster that caused the loss of more than 200 lives, left 800 houses destroyed and around 600,000 people affected.
So far, no evaluation of the losses suffered to farming, highways, houses etc. has been made, and that should be looked into, said Ranawaka.
A year ago, Colombo city, Kaduwela and Kolonnawa areas suffered due to severe floods similarly, he noted.
Calls for proper policies
While effects of global warming should be taken up internationally, haphazard highway and house constructions, farming and other locally preventable issues should be dealt with through proper policies, said the minister.
He noted that the southern expressway project had been implemented without a proper environmental impact assessment.
Ranawaka proposed setting up permanent public centres in collaboration with the disaster management department and law enforcement agencies to prewarn the people about disasters.
Programme to protect Colombo city
He went onto say that a programme was underway to protect Colombo city, the country’s key economic hub, which is adversely affected by illegal constructions near canal-ways that disrupt the flow of water.
The minister questioned the enforcement of the law differently for the rich and the poor with regard to illegal constructions.
‘Correct weather forecasts are needed’
He also said the country needs to have accurate weather forecasts based on correct data to prevent disasters, noting that the present forecasts by the Met Department were inadequate.
Officials are threatened when they attempt to clean a canal and so-called human rights groups engage in media hypes against the removal of illegal constructions.
A destruction of massive proportions will be caused if heavy rains occur in Badulla and Nuwara Eliya areas, where all the land is being set apart for agricultural purposes, he said.
The minister urged those who call for a so-called homeland to protect their land first, adding that a strategic plan is underway for Jaffna.
Ranawaka urged all to set aside petty politics and unite as a country to prevent ruin for the country.